July 31

Friday, July 31
Matthew 13:54-58
Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? (Matthew 13:54)

  Jesus had returned home to Nazareth, to the people who knew Him best. But their familiarity with Jesus biased them; all they saw was the carpenter’s son. So they missed out on the new life Jesus offered. How frustrating this must have been for Jesus! But He didn’t let the unbelief He encountered at home keep Him from teaching and working miracles everywhere else. Somehow, He kept himself steady whether people believed in Him or not. Even when His closest friends rejected him, Jesus remained obedient to the Father’s will, to His last breath.

   Jesus’ persistence is so remarkable that we may throw up our hands and say, “That’s impossible.” We may struggle with disappointment or weariness as we try to follow the Lord. Or we may forget that we need Him when things are going smoothly. In both situations, we miss the power and peace that Jesus wants to give us. But how can we tap into the source of Jesus’ perseverance and follow in his footsteps?

   One thing is for certain: Jesus didn’t just push through on His own strength. Even He had to rely on His Father. He said it Himself: “A son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing” (John 5:19). So our first step is to learn to rely on the strength and wisdom that come from God.

   This means turning to Him in daily prayer and in the course of our day. It means being real with God and telling Him when we are tempted to give up or when we don’t understand situations in our lives. It means asking for help and guidance when we need it – and even when we think we don’t.

   The second step is to try “to obey the Lord. When we choose God’s preferences and desires over our own, we open ourselves to receive His grace. Over His thirty-three years, Jesus learned the disposition that allowed Him to say to the Father, “Not my will but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). In our daily obedience, in the ordinary tasks of our jobs and our families, we can grow in strength and willingness to say the same thing.

Lord, I need Your love and Your grace today. Keep me steady. Jeremiah 26: 1-9
Psalm 69:5,8-10, 14

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